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U.S. House of Representatives Pass ESEA Bill

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The House considered and passed H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, by a vote of 221-207. H.R.5 would revise and update the current No Child Left Behind Act which was enacted in 2001.

Background:

H.R. 5 would dramatically reduce the federal "footprint" on education by

  • eliminating the current federal accountability system of adequate yearly progress (AYP) and allow states and school districts to set their own testing standards;
  • eliminating the corrective actions for failing schools;
  • repealing the "highly qualified teacher" definition; and
  • eliminating "more than 70" existing programs, consolidating others, and granting broad autonomy to states; and schools in the administration of education.

The vote, 221-207, fell along party lines with all but 12 House Republican members voting in favor and all Democrats voting against. In addition, the education community was split in its support of H.R. 5 with school administrators and large schools districts supporting the bill, while both teacher unions and a myriad of other groups opposing it.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee recently passed its version of a new ESEA bill, S. 1094, the Strengthening America's Schools Act. S. 1094 garnered support for all of the Committee's Democrat members but failed to garner any Republican support. Senate Democratic leaders want to bring the bill to the Senate floor this year, but exactly when is unclear. If S. 1094 makes it through the Senate, a conference committee comprised of representatives from both the House and Senate would be appointed to resolve the vast differences in the two bills.


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